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Top motorcycle jargon

Despite some stereotypes, motorcycle riders generally aren’t group of outlaws and thieves who start bar fights, harass people and commit crimes before riding off into the sunset. They are everyday people who live and love their motorcycles and the motorcycle culture.


Motorcycle culture
The culture consists of a variety of organized motorcycle clubs of dedicated bikers who come to together for rider training, education, socialization and camaraderie. These mainstream clubs and organizations usually have elected officers, collect annual dues and often put out publications. Additionally, many of them sponsor rallies several times a year where members get together, socialize and ride.

Though sometimes motorcycle riders, clubs and the whole culture is perceived negatively, it’s largely because of the movies, TV shows and some highly publicized isolated incidents. Most motorcycle riders aren’t criminals or troublemakers in any way, shape or form. They are people like you and me, who come from all walks of life and share a love of riding bikes.

If you are new to riding motorcycles, you may not be familiar with some of the jargon associated with riding. We hope that this information will be helpful as you become more familiar with motorcycle riding and the culture.

Motorcycle jargon

Aftermarket – Parts or accessories made by someone other than the original manufacturer

Apes – Type of handlebars that are tall

Bar & shield – The Harley Davidson logo

Basket case – A motorcycle that has been taken apart and is in pieces

Cage – Automobile

Chopper – A radically customized motorcycle normally altered for functionality and agility

CVO – Custom vehicle operations

HOG – The acronym for Harley Owners Group, but often refers to larger Harley models

Juneau Avenue – The nickname for Harley Davidson headquarters

P&A – Parts and accessories

Pearl – A type of paint color with sparkle or shimmer added to it

RUB – Acronym often used for Rich Urban Biker — bikers who have the money to ride but don’t have knowledge or experience

Screamin’ Eagle – Brand of performance parts and accessories

Sissy bar – An optional small metal bar at the base of the passenger seat used as a backrest

Skull cap – A very stretchy cap often worn under your helmet that fits very close to your head

Squid – A younger motorcycle rider who doesn’t respect laws, safety rules or proper gear

State rally – An annual group event that takes place in each state

Sturgis – A small city in South Dakota that is home to a large annual bike rally

Twisties – A route with a lot of curves and turns

Tricked out – A motorcycle with a lot of customizations

V-Twin – The V-shaped engine in a Harley Davidson motorcycle

Willie G. – Willie G. Davidson, VP of Styling and grandson of one of the four founders of Harley Davidson

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